Our annual trip to Stockwell in January 2018, has once again seen amazing progress. However, there has also been sadness: Martha, who described herself as the Jack-of-all-trades (because she did the cooking, looked after the staff, and looked after the children) died at the beginning of January 2018. She is sadly missed by all at Stockwell School, and by all in FOSSA. She was an amazing woman who was loved by everybody.
We are pleased to announce that now there are 180 students in the school and only one class is multi-grade. Children now want to come to this school! Cape Dry (formerly Montagu Dried Fruit) decided this year to refurbish one of the toilet bocks, but FOSSA was asked to provide funding for the pump to the second block, which is, as yet, not refurbished. Eventually, both staff and visitors will be able to use a separate facility.
Funding from last year provided furnishings for the wooden classrooms - known as Wendy-houses - and to ensure that one of the temporary teachers has been given a full-time contract. This year we gave the school R5,000 when we first arrived and this has been put towards cladding materials for the inside of the Wendy-houses. This material has been delivered and will be installed soon, helped by Johannes, Martha's husband, who is now the school’s caretaker.
During a discussion with Gaewinne Niemand (DeputyPincipal/Grade 4 teacher) we learnt that Gaewinne is organising a trip to Cape Town for 61 students. The majority of these students have never been away from their village Zolani, which is 0.5km from the school Gaewinne has got funding for a coach for the 3 days, and breakfasts for the children. In order that all 61 students could take part, FOSSA has agreed to pay the RI0,000 necessary for the accommodation. The school is making up the shortfall for the other meals, but any further contributions would gratefully received
. Thanks to the enthusiasm and experience of the increased staff numbers, students are now taking part in rugby, athletics and netball. Barclay School provided its annual donation of spare uniform and kit, which means the rugby team now has team shorts and, hopefully, next year, we will provide rugby shirts and netball bibs. Any offers of athletics kit (small sizes) for these children would be very special. The children wear the Barclay School kit with pride.
Beverley Jonas, the Headteacher, feels that the new experiences and opportunities offered have contributed to the children's improved numeracy and literacy skills. All the staff firmly believe that FOSSAs influence has now put Stockwell School on the map and the local education authority is now taking positive notice of their progress.
Although FOSSA provides much-need extra funding, they would not be where they are without the incredible hard work and dedication of their staff.